Howard Gardner, a Harvard professor, researcher, and
author, proposes that there are eight main areas in which all people have
special skills; he calls them intelligences. Every one of us possesses all the
intelligences to various degrees of development, from highly developed to fairly
Schools and standardized testing
typically teach to and test for only two of the intelligences: linguistic and
logical-mathematical. This is a shortcoming of the educational system, as many
children with other abilities are overlooked in the process.
In this series, I give some information about each
intelligence, with the hopes that parents will recognize themselves and their
- Interpersonal Intelligence: perceiving and the moods,
feelings, and needs of others. If you are a "people person," this is a
dominant and well-developed intelligence for you. It includes salespeople,
teachers, counselors, and those we have come to call the helping professions.
These questions can determine if an adult has a strength in
- Have people always come to you for advice?
- Have you always preferred group sports to solo sports?
- Do you usually prefer talking to other people about a
problem, rather than figure it out on your own?
- Do you have at least three close friends?
- Do you prefer social activities over individual pursuits?
- Do you enjoy teaching others what you can do well?
- Are you considered to be a leader, either by yourself or
- Do you feel comfortable in a crowd?
- Do you prefer to spend your time with others than alone?
These are some questions to determine if children may
be exhibiting a well-developing Interpersonal Intelligence. Does your child:
- enjoy socializing with friends?
- seem to be a natural leader?
- empathize easily with others, which leads to his give
advice to friends who come to him with problems?
- seem to be street-smart?
- enjoy belonging to organizations?
- enjoy teaching other kids - either peers or younger ones?
- have two or more close friends?
- serve as a magnet for social activities with others?
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